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Hollywood star Christian Slater at the Edinburgh Fringe – 15 years ago in The Stage

Detail from The Stage's Edinburgh reviews pages in 2004 Detail from The Stage's Edinburgh reviews pages in 2004
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August 26, 2004: We reviewed the troubled and somewhat delayed opening of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – featuring Hollywood star Christian Slater – at the Edinburgh Fringe.

“It happened at last: first original director Guy Masterson quit and then two of the performers, including star Christian Slater, were struck down by chicken pox,” reported our critic.

“Normally a show so hyped and well reported does nothing but fail to impress. No so this production. Dale Wasserman’s adaptation of Ken Kesey’s novel captures the humour, the tragedy and the horror as Randle Patrick McMurphy feigns mental illness to escape a custodial sentence and too late realises the danger this and his challenges to Nurse Ratched’s authority has placed him in.

“With pox scars showing on his arms, Slater’s performance owes more than a nod to Jack Nicholson’s in the film version. Slater’s performances always beg comparison with Nicholson’s and of course that iconic star played the definitive version of McMurphy.

“But Slater’s is more than an impersonation. He has the charisma to carry this role, to dominate the stage just as McMurphy dominated the mental institution, but also the skill to allow the other performers to shine in what is the perfect example of an ensemble piece.”

For more from The Stage Archive, visit thestage.co.uk/archive

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